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Kanyakaparameswari Trading Company and ors. Vs. the State of Andhra Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberTax Revision Case Nos. 50, 51, 52, 53, 60, 61 and 62 of 1980 and 1 of 1981
Judge
Reported in[1983]54STC135(AP)
ActsAndhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act - Sections 7-A
AppellantKanyakaparameswari Trading Company and ors.
RespondentThe State of Andhra Pradesh
Appellant AdvocateT. Ramam and ;P. Venkatarama Reddy, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader for Commercial Taxes
Excerpt:
.....there can equally well be no doubt that the petitioners are not liable to pay any tax on the sales of rice purchased by them from k. satyanarayana showed himself to be an unreliable witness when he stated that he made an earlier false statement under threat of departmental authorities but this circumstance cannot, by itself, be a ground to reject his evidence before the assessing authority outright. the first category are witnesses who are wholly reliable; the second category are witnesses who are wholly unreliable. good number of witnesses of the third category appear before the courts and tribunals in our country and the law is now well-settled that the doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not applicable in our country. if however there is other evidence aliunde in the..........rice to others within the state and claimed exemption from payment of sales tax on the ground that sales of rice purchased by them from the registered dealers are second sales in the state. while their assessments were pending, the registered dealer filed a return including the various sales made to the petitioners and claimed exemption from sales tax on the sales on the ground that he did not actually sell rice to the petitioners, but merely sold paper bills. the assessing officer issued notices to the petitioners to show cause as to why, on the basis of the statement of the registered dealer, tax should not be levied on the sales made by them. he has also initiated penalty proceedings under section 7-a of the andhra pradesh general sales tax act for having claimed wrong exemption. the.....
Judgment:

Madhusudan Rao, J.

1. The petitioners in all these cases are wholesale dealers in rice. Each one of them purchased rice from the same registered dealer under bills obtained by them. The price payable to the registered dealer was paid by some of the petitioners in cash and others under demand drafts drawn in favour of the registered dealer. After purchasing different quantities of rice from the registered dealer, each of the petitioners sold the rice to others within the State and claimed exemption from payment of sales tax on the ground that sales of rice purchased by them from the registered dealers are second sales in the State. While their assessments were pending, the registered dealer filed a return including the various sales made to the petitioners and claimed exemption from sales tax on the sales on the ground that he did not actually sell rice to the petitioners, but merely sold paper bills. The assessing officer issued notices to the petitioners to show cause as to why, on the basis of the statement of the registered dealer, tax should not be levied on the sales made by them. He has also initiated penalty proceedings under section 7-A of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act for having claimed wrong exemption. The petitioners filed objections and requested that the registered dealer might be summoned and examined by the assessing officer in their presence. The assessing officer accordingly examined the registered dealer, K. V. Satyanarayana, who stated that he made a false statement earlier under duress and that he actually sold rice to the petitioners as per the bills given by him. The assessing authority rejected the evidence of the registered dealer, K. V. Satyanarayana, and assessed each of the petitioner to tax and also levied penalty at five times the tax.

2. Each of the petitioners thereupon preferred an appeal before the Assistant Commissioner who dismissed all the appeals. They preferred further appeals before the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal and the Appellate Tribunal remitted the cases to the assessing authority 'for fresh assessment after enquiry and after giving opportunity to the appellants of adducing such evidence as may be desired by them in support of their claim for exemption and also after giving opportunity to the appellants to examine or cross-examine the sellers whose statements are said to have been recorded by the department behind the back of the appellants'. It is against these orders of remand that the petitioners have come up with this batch of revision petitions.

3. Sri P. Venkatarama Reddy, the learned counsel for the petitioners in T.R.C. Nos. 53 and 60 of 1980 and 1 of 1981, contends that the orders of remand passed by the Appellate Tribunal are unjust and unwarranted and that on its own finding the Appellate Tribunal ought to have allowed the appeals filed by the petitioners. Sri A. Pulla Reddy, the learned counsel for the department, contends that there is no legal evidence enabling any conclusion either in favour of or against the petitioners and that therefore the orders of remand passed by the Appellate Tribunal are sound and proper.

4. All the petitioners are admittedly wholesale dealers and they claimed exemption from payment of sales tax in regard to the sale of rice said to have been purchased from the registered dealer, K. V. Satyanarayana of Yalamanchili. Their claim has been negatived by the department on the ground that K. V. Satyanarayana stated before the assessing authority at one time that he did not actually sell any rice to the petitioners but merely sold bills. If the statement of K. V. Satyanarayana to the effect that he sold only bills but not rice is true, there can be little doubt that the sales made by the petitioners are liable to tax as first sales. If, on the other hand, the statement is found to be false, there can equally well be no doubt that the petitioners are not liable to pay any tax on the sales of rice purchased by them from K. V. Satyanarayana. The Appellate Tribunal remanded the cases to enable the petitioners to adduce evidence in proof of their claim for exemption. Sri P. Venkatarama Reddy, the learned counsel for the petitioners in T.R.C. Nos. 53 and 60 of 1980 and 1 of 1981, contends that the petitioners have already adduced all such evidence as could be adduced by them in proof of their claim for exemption and that the orders of remand are wholly unnecessary and unwarranted. In support of his submission, he has taken us through the evidence of K. V. Satyanarayana who was examined before the assessing authority and was also cross-examined before that authority. In his evidence before the assessing authority, K. V. Satyanarayana categorically stated that his earlier statement of not having sold any rice to the petitioners is wholly false and that he made such a statement in pursuance of the threats of the departmental authorities. He has further stated in unequivocal terms that he actually sold rice to the petitioners as per the bills issued by him. The assessing authority rejected the evidence of K. V. Satyanarayana when he spoke in favour of the petitioners' case merely because he gave a different statement earlier when he filed his return before the assessing authority. His explanation, when examined before the assessing authority, that he made the earlier statement under duress was not accepted merely on suspicion and prejudice. The assessing authority did not give any valid reasons for rejecting the evidence given by him before it. No doubt, K. V. Satyanarayana showed himself to be an unreliable witness when he stated that he made an earlier false statement under threat of departmental authorities but this circumstance cannot, by itself, be a ground to reject his evidence before the assessing authority outright. Witnesses examined before the courts or tribunals may broadly be classified into three categories. The first category are witnesses who are wholly reliable; the second category are witnesses who are wholly unreliable. The third category are partly reliable and party unreliable. There would be no difficulty in accepting the evidence of the first category of witnesses and straightway rejecting the evidence of the second category of witnesses. Good number of witnesses of the third category appear before the courts and tribunals in our country and the law is now well-settled that the doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not applicable in our country. If the evidence of the third category of witnessess is also to be rejected outright, there may be serious miscarriage of justice and so the courts should make an earnest endeavour to find out as to which part of the evidence of the witness is reliable and which other part is unreliable. If there is noting before the court to enable a decision as to which part of the statement of the witness is true and which other part is untrue, there will be no option to the court except to eschew the testimony of such a witness. If however there is other evidence aliunde in the case enabling the court to arrive at a conclusion as to which part of the statement of the witness is true and which other part is untrue, the court would not be justified in rejecting the evidence of the witness on the ground that he is partly unreliable. In the instant case, the statement of K. V. Satyanarayana that he sold only bills and not rice to the petitioners is unsupported by any other evidence. On the other hand, the very maker of that statement asserts that the statement is false. The statement of K. V. Satyanarayana that he sold rice to the petitioners under bills issued by him is lent assurance by considerable documentary evidence, viz., the bills signed and issued by K. V. Satyanarayana and the entries made by the petitioners and K. V. Satyanarayana in their respective account books which are maintained in the usual course of business. Under the circumstances, therefore, the assessing authority and the first appellate authority ought not to have rejected the evidence of K. V. Satyanarayana in the enquiry merely because he made an earlier self-serving contradictory statement particularly when he himself asserts that the statement is false. In should not be forgotten that the earlier statement of K. V. Satyanarayana was in his own interest and the same was made behind the back of the petitioners in a return submitted by him. His later statement on the other hand is before the assessing authority in the immediate presence of the petitioners and this statement is adverse to his interest. The conduct of K. V. Satyanarayana in making the two different statements is too patent to be ignored. He wanted to play a game for his advantage in the absence of the petitioners; but when he was examined by the assessing authority in the immediate presence of the petitioners, he must have realised that his game was up and so only he came out with the truth. Under the circumstances, as rightly pointed out by the Appellate Tribunal, the petitioners had discharged their burden of proof in support of their claim for exemption from sales tax in regard to the rice purchased by them from the registered dealer, K. V. Satyanarayana. Having given this clear finding, the Appellate Tribunal ought to have allowed the appeals of the petitioners, but instead remitted the cases back to the assessing authority for giving further opportunity to the petitioners to prove their claim for exemption. As argued by Sri P. Venkatarama Reddy, the petitioners would not be able to produce any better evidence. The best evidence which the petitioners can possibly adduce in support of their claim is already available. A remand for the purpose of adducing fresh evidence to explain unambiguous evidence is not warranted under the law. Cases cannot be remanded for further evidence when there is sufficient evidence for proper decision. The further enquiry directed by the Appellate Tribunal, under the circumstances, would be a purposeless exercise and waste of public time.

5. In the state of evidence available on record, there can be little doubt that the petitioners are entitled to the exemption claimed by them in their returns on the ground that the sales of rice purchased by them from K. V. Satyanarayana are second sales and not first sales. All the revisions are, therefore, allowed, but under the circumstances, without costs.

6. Advocate's fee Rs. 50 in each case.


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